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Tuesday, November 07 2017

     You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw that chicken on the boat. I don't know why. If living in the middle of nowhere has taught me anything, it should be to expect the unexpected. This adventure started before the Daylight Savings time change. Two weeks earlier to be exact.

     I have seven chickens. Correction. I had seven chickens. Now I have six. They pretty much all look the same - Golden-Laced Wyandottes. With the exception of Bald Butt, and The Molter, everyone else looks the same. This makes it hard to differentiate which hen was Darwin, the escape artist. For almost a year, one goofy hen would hopscotch her way to the top of her pen and then leap down to freedom, thus allowing herself evening time free range. Each night I would have to return Darwin to the chicken pen so she could roost in the coop. If I was late, Darwin would simply climb onto the 4-Wheeler and wait for me. When I arrived, she'd hop down and talk to me as we walked back to the coop together. I honestly didn't think a bird who flew the coop each evening would survive, so I named her Darwin. But survive she did. And she pecked and scratched her way into my heart. Even though I was certain one day I'd find nothing left of her but a pile of feathers, against my better judgement, I grew fond of the silly bird.

     Her adventures gave me to the courage to let the rest of the flock out of the chicken yard and let them free range. The deal was simple. Stay in the yard. Stay close to the Livestock Guardian Dogs. Stay alive. If you leave the barnyard to explore beyond the fence, you are a Dead Chicken Walking.

     What did they do?

     Within three days they had discovered the field fencing had chicken-sized gaps in the woven wire which allowed the enterprising bird access to hidden truths and treasures on the other side. Five of them became regular morning visitors to the Forbidden Land. Fortunately for them, from time to time their Livestock Guardian Dog went along as a body guard. But nevertheless, the writing was on the wall.

     And one night, there were only six. Bird #7 did not come in to roost. Alas, we found a pile of scattered feathers not 50 feet from the fence, not 150 feet from my back door.

     The nice thing about all the birds looking the same is that I wasn't sure if Darwin was #7. Because the hens were now free-ranging, there was no need to fly to the top of the pen and hop down to freedom and that was the only way I had to identify Darwin. Although it was highly likely Darwin was #7, I held out hope.

     Saturday night I was losing hope. I went out after dark to shut up the chicken coop and noted the gate had swung shut, locking the hens outside the chicken yard. They had roosted outside the chicken yard, but where? I heard a soft cackle from the dog kennel. Sitting on top of a dog house were four hens. One by one I gently carried the girls to their coop. None of them acted like they'd ever been handled before. Damn. Perhaps Darwin was #7 after all.

     The remaining two birds had actually gone inside the dog kennel. One was sleeping inside the dog house in a pile of fresh shavings and the other was pacing back and forth outside the dog house. Since they were safe, I just closed the door on the dog kennel and left them there.

     The next morning I turned them out with everyone else and walked off to do chores. I was feeding the cats on top of the boat, when one of the hens flew onto the boat and helped herself to the bowl of catfood. Like me, the yard cats were stunned. Wow. Bold bird.

     Sunday night. Daylight Savings time. Move the clock back. Fall back. (Which I never quite understood, because I can fall forward too.) Anyway, it was dark an hour earlier. That evening I padded out into the night with my flashlight, and shut the chicken coop door, thus locking the inhabitants safely inside. Monday morning I walked out to feed the cats and lo and behold, there was a chicken waiting on the boat!

     You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw that chicken on the boat. Because I didn't count chickens in the dark, I must have locked her out of the coop. Alone. In the dark. When the moon rises and the zombie apocalypse begins. Somehow she survived the night by herself.

Okay, she wasn't really by herself.

In all likelihood she had a friend nearby.

     Nevertheless, I stared at her with slack jaw. That's one lucky bad-ass bird. So I named her Chuck Norris. Then a friend on Facebook suggested we call her "Chick" Norris. Perfect!

     Monday evening The Ninja cat decided to come home. Ninja is a feral cat who moved with us from Houston. Shortly after we moved in, Ninja disappeared. She was gone for months. Then I saw her lurking around a nearby hunters' camp. Wild. Many months after that I saw her crossing a red dirt road. She disappeared into the forest. She was clearly hunting and living on her own. Just this year, The Ninja cat decided that regular meals were more important than her dislike of dogs, so she started coming in every week or so for meals on the boat. The yard cats always give the Ninja a wide berth. She is, after all, a bad-ass cat.

     So imagine the suspense when Chick Norris and The Ninja squared off on the bow of that boat.

      The Ninja Cat had already tied a napkin around her neck and was leaning in to dine on Little Friskies when the bird landed on the boat. I stood there in shock. This could be the fight of the century. Time to whip out the cell phone!

The cat hissed and backed up. The chicken eyed the cat. If she had an eyebrow I think she cocked it.

Then Chick Norris, bad-ass bird, leaned in to peck her share of Little Friskies. The Ninja glared.

I've seen that cat kill rabbits. A chicken was certainly not outside her range. But Chick Norris is such a bad-ass that even the Ninja cat had to pause.

After careful study, the cat backed down. And left. That's one bad-ass bird.

Chick Norris finished her Little Friskies, hopped off the boat, and waddled off into the sunset.

I'm seriously hoping that Chick Norris is actually Darwin, and the pile of feathers that is what is left of #7 actually belongs to a bird with less personality than Darwin and Chick Norris. Let's keep our fingers crossed, shall we?


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 07:35 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Could you lock them up once and see who climbs out as per old days? If it is here she has a gene pool worth bottling.
Posted by Liz [Vic Aust] on 11/11/2017 - 05:04 PM
I considered that, but then I'd have to leave everyone locked up all day and they really enjoy their outside time. After watching the bird for the last couple of weeks, I believe that Darwin was one of the two birds I left in the kennel that night. This Chick Norris bird has the exact same personality. I'm pretty sure it's Darwin.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 11/18/2017 - 07:31 AM

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